AMD Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT review: Blazing new trails

AMD's latest graphics cards contain numerous cutting-edge technologies, and an all-new "RDNA" architecture that fixes previous Radeon drawbacks.

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Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($350 on Amazon)
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($395 on Amazon)
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($420 on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($230 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($130 on Amazon)
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($78 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the $350 Radeon RX 5700 and $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT against Nvidia’s new $399 GeForce RTX 2060 Super and $499 RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition cards, of course. We’ve also included results from the Founders Edition models of Nvidia’s original RTX 20-series lineup: The $350 RTX 2060, $600 RTX 2070, $800 RTX 2080, and $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti. Note that aside from the RTX 2060, all other non-Super Founders Edition cards come overclocked and more expensive than reference models for each respective GPU. We also tested AMD’s comparable Radeon options: the $700 Radeon VII, $500 Vega 64, and $400 Vega 56.

All prices cited are launch MSRP. You can often find these cards cheaper on the streets these days.

Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these high-end cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

We’ve added a couple of new games to our testing suite (Division 2, Far Cry: New Dawn) and removed a handful of others (Rainbow Six Siege, Far Cry 5, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, Middle-earth: Shadow of War). We’re hoping to add Metro Exodus to the mix in future reviews but were unable to do so for this one due to severe time constraints.

Gaming performance benchmarks

Division 2

Let’s start with the latest games. The Division 2 is one of the best looter-shooters ever created, and the luscious visuals generated by Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine make it even easier to get lost in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. The built-in benchmark cycles through four “zones” to test an array of environments, and we test with the DirectX 12 renderer enabled. It provides better performance across the board than the DX11 renderer, but requires Windows 10.

d2 Brad Chacos/IDG

The Radeon RX 5700 trounces the original GeForce RTX 2060, while the Radeon RX 5700 XT surpasses the equally priced RTX 2060 Super and equals the original RTX 2070 in performance. The GeForce RTX 2070 Super is the fastest new card of the lot, but it costs significantly more than AMD’s Navi duo after their pre-launch price drops. 

Far Cry: New Dawn

Another Ubisoft title, Far Cry: New Dawn drags Far Cry 5’s wonderful gameplay into a post-apocalyptic future of its own, though this vision is a lot more bombastic—and pink—than The Division 2’s bleak setting. The game runs on the latest version of the long-running Dunia engine, and it’s slightly more strenuous than Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark.

fcnd Brad Chacos/IDG

The Radeon RX 5700 wallops the RTX 2060 Founders Edition for the same price, while the Radeon RX 5700 XT delivers performance on par with its competitor. (Note: There was an error transcribing the results into Excel here. The 1080p performance for the Radeon RX 5700 series were swapped around; the Radeon RX 5700 should read 94fps, and the Radeon RX XT 98fps.)

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
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